Getting a Driver’s License in China

From ChinaExpat.Wiki

When you arrive in China, you can not legally drive on a foreign driver's license, nor can you drive on an international license. Even Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are not able to be used. If you want to drive in China you need a local license. To obtain one, you can convert your overseas license, make an application from scratch or apply for a short stay temporary license. Obviously converting is the preferable route, but that is not available to everyone.

Converting an overseas drivers license to a Chinese driver license[edit | edit source]

If you have an overseas driver's license or an International Driving Permit (IDP), the following process should allow you to convert it into a Chinese driver's license. As with any other government process in China, the process may have some variations depending on which city you are in and who you talk to.

  1. Make standard photocopies of the following on any photocopier or at any photocopy shop:
    • 2 x copy of passport details page (护照主页复印件) (1 min - ¥2)
    • 2 x copy of valid Chinese visa (中国签证复印件) (1 min - ¥2)
  2. Visit a photography shop (or a photocopy shop with photography services) to produce:
    • 6 x driver's license size photos with white background (驾驶执照照片) (5 min - ¥20)
  3. Take passport, photocopies and rental agreement to your local (as in responsible for your housing area) Public Security Bureau (公安局) office. If the rental agreement is not in your name, you may need to bring the person whose name is on the document. If you are not renting, you will need to bring a house Deed to a Property (房产证) and maybe the person whose name is on it. Ask the Public Security Bureau to produce the following document:
  4. Take your collection of documents to the local Notary Public (公证处) to produce:
    • 1x notarized (公证) and certified translation (认证翻译) of overseas driver's license or IDP (1-3 days - ¥300)
  5. Make standard photocopies of the following on any photocopier or at any photocopy shop:
  6. Study the driving theory questions online at ChineseDrivingTest.com, ChineseDriversLicenseTest.com or search the internet for other study resources. (Until you feel ready - As much as you like)
  7. Visit your local Vehicle Administration (车管所) office with the following documents:
  8. Present yourself and the documents at the front counter (10 mins - Free)
  9. Take the physical examination which may include a sonogram, X-ray, EKG, eye test and smell test (1 hour - ¥50)
  10. Fill out the application form at the front counter. This will need to be entirely in Chinese. Sometimes you can find someone there to translate, but you may be useful to bring a friend if your Chinese isn't up to the task. Your name will also need to be in Chinese, so make sure you have chosen a Chinese name that you are happy sticking with. (20 mins - Free)
  11. Take the 100 question computer-based multiple choice driving theory test and score at least 90 points. There are multiple languages available (including English), but the translations aren't necessarily easy to understand. You can retake the test once before you will likely encounter a waiting period (lengths vary). Questions are drawn from a pool of 900-1500 questions (45 mins - ¥100)
  12. Watch a public education video duly the dangers of driving in China (30 mins - Free)
  13. Collect your driver's license at the counter

Variations between cities and offices[edit | edit source]

  • Some offices do not require the notarized and certified translation of your overseas license, though this remains the most consistently accepted translation type. Other methods that are sometimes accepted include:
    • A translation on a separate piece of paper with your thumbprint on it
    • A translation from a professional translation company
    • A translation made by a Chinese person who stamps the paper with their thumb and provides an accompanying copy of their ID Card (身份证)

Apply for a driver license in China with no convertible overseas license[edit | edit source]

If you want to get a license and you don't have a preexisting license or it is not valid for conversion, you will need to complete the process below. You will most likely need to sign up for a training program with a Chinese driving school who should be able to help you through the whole process.

  1. Sign up with local Chinese driving school
  2. Make standard photocopies of:
    • 2 x copy of passport details page (护照主页复印件)
    • 2 x copy of valid Chinese visa (中国签证复印件)
  3. Prepare 6 x driver's license size photos with white background (驾驶执照照片)
  4. Take passport, photocopies and rental agreement to your local (as in responsible for your housing area) Public Security Bureau (公安局) office. If the rental agreement is not in your name, you may need to bring the person whose name is on the document. If you are not renting, you will need to bring a house Deed to a Property (房产证) and maybe the person whose name is on it. Ask the Public Security Bureau to produce the following document:
  5. Make standard photocopy of:
  6. Study the driving theory questions online at ChineseDrivingTest.com, ChineseDriversLicenseTest.com or search the internet for other study resources. You school will also likely provide you with materials and training to help you prepare.
  7. Visit your local Vehicle Administration (车管所) office with the following documents:
  8. Present yourself and the documents at the front counter
  9. Take the physical examination which may include a sonogram, X-ray, EKG, eye test and smell test
  10. Fill out the application form at the front counter. This will need to be entirely in Chinese. Sometimes you can find someone there to translate, but you may be useful to bring a friend if your Chinese isn't up to the task. Your name will also need to be in Chinese, so make sure you have chosen a Chinese name that you are happy sticking with. (20 mins - Free)
  11. Take the 100 question computer-based multiple choice driving theory test and score at least 90 points. There are multiple languages available (including English), but the translations aren't necessarily easy to understand. You can retake the test once before you will likely encounter a waiting period (lengths vary). Questions are drawn from a pool of 900-1500 questions
  12. Watch a public education video duly the dangers of driving in China
  13. Take a parking and basic driving skills test on a track
  14. Take a 50 question written exam on correct driving habits
  15. Take a road test
  16. Collect your driver's license at the counter

Applying for a Temporary Chinese Provisional Driving Permit[edit | edit source]

This is the easiest, cheapest and fastest category of driving permit to apply for in China. There is no need for any written or practical testing. They are only available for people visiting China on short-stay visas.

  1. Visit your nearest Vehicle Administration Office (车管所) with the documents below. Some cities have Vehicle Administration Offices at the airport so that you can complete this process on arrival in China.
    • Foreign driver’s license
    • Chinese translation of the foreign driver’s license
    • Completed application form
    • Hotel booking unless on day of entry into China
    • 3 x Chinese 35 x 25mm driver's license photos with white background
  2. Take the required medical examination
  3. Pick up your Chinese Provisional Driving Permit at the counter

Airports with Vehicle Administration Offices[edit | edit source]

  • Beijing Capital Airport (Terminal 3) - Monday to Sunday 08:30 to 11:00 and 12:30 to 16:30 -